Friday, September 22, 2006


Here we go, a post about a RARE / CULT RECORD, albeit one that won't you cost you a fortune (though God knows where you'll find a copy). My mother still has this on vinyl (I doubt it's made it onto CD), though I've borrowed it so often I might as well just keep it next time round....this is basically a guy called Noel Murphy, recorded knocking out some hooligan Irish blues in a rich brogue growl with his acoustic geetar, in one take - it could have been in the back room of a smokey pub or in someone's front room. It's minimalist but don't take that to mean 'powerless' - his vocals carry a fair clout, raw and deep, by turns seething and jocular.

The standouts for me are always going to be "McAlpine's Fusiliers" (Murphy's version being one of my favourite 20 songs ever), a classic rant about a doomed gang of brick-hard navvies who keep getting fucked around by their bosses. The song namechecks The Crown in Cricklewood - a place which might be familiar to London Irish kids who grew up in North West London in the 70s and 80s. I don't know why, but hearing this particular boozer namechecked on vinyl means more to me than any other musical London reference.

There's also a version of "The Patriot Game", an old rebel song (not that that stopped Slob Dylan from completely ripping off the tune and crediting it to himself on "With God on our Side"), only adding a lyrical sideswipe at book-burning fascist numbskull Eamon deValera, which manages to be simultaneously quiet and restrained but has a sort of slow-burning intensity. Balladeer for the damned.
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